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Blog post: “Travel diary part 2”

Part 2 of my travel writings.

Gran Canaria3 025


Never tire of the sight of the sea from the window. The foamy white tops of the waves, driven towards shore by the gusting wind.

The wind is a bit of a pickle, really. As long as you are in the lee, with the sun smiling warmly down at you, there is contentment and eternal warmth, but whenever you leave it, when you are at the mercy of the wind then the chill manages to break through your body’s barriers and you shiver, goose bumps rising on your skin, your arms and the back of the neck.

We walked through the desert today, not a huge, scary desert mind you but the one that has formed here from the sands of the Sahara blown here with those very winds, gathered here for years and years, making a miniature Sahara here, nestled in between two lovely sandy beaches. The sand here, the real sand of the island is volcanic and black, like the sands of its sister island Tenerife, because that island is too far for the Sahara to leave its cargo. But yes, the black sand is visible in places, where the yellow Sahara sand has blown away, been pushed up the mighty dunes and left tendrils and traces of black sand on the surface, like black ink poured into a glass of water, first it floats around, before it finally mingles with the water making it black. It is a fine sand, which seems to get absolutely everywhere, and you need to really scrub at it to make it go away, dig it out of ears, hair and eyebrows. And gods forbid it gets under your clothes, inside you most private parts.

It did not look like such a long walk, but when you look back on it, after we had traversed that entire distance and come back, then you could truly see what a feat it was. In a way it also felt like we had broken some law. The bus had dropped us off at this hotel that lay in this part of the island, but when we crossed that desert we ended up among other hotels and among the people who lived there. We mingled with people we would never have seen if we had remained on our side of the desert. Though it feels crude and inappropriate to compare it to such horrid barriers as the Berlin Wall and the strange walls the US has put up along the border to Mexico to keep undesirables on their side of it, there is a faint similarity in how it felt. Like how you are in some way supposed to, as a tourist, to just stay close by, and give your money to the stores and restaurants that are close to you.

Most everyone here earn a living off the tourists, the millions of them that come here every year and of course you would want a good number of them to go to your establishment, your place of business. And it would be dreadful if the tourists that live in the hotels near you decide that they want to walk all the way across that desert and have their dinner there instead.

Though I see not how impractical it would be to always wander such distances to eat and shop. I do not think the local restaurateurs need worry that I will not give them most of the money I brought.

There was also a fascination in observing what plant and wildlife did live there in those barren wastes, the small shrubs and stunted trees that had planted themselves atop a dune and just stayed there, their long roots digging deep, deep down for moisture and sustenance far below, their leaves small and hard, to protect them against the sun and the winds. We heard actual Canary birds singing up a storm in a small copse of those trees, a song I had only previously heard in a pet shop some years ago. Like we told each other, life always finds a way.

The days seem to crawl by so slowly, it’s hard to imagine that this is only the second full day. But the days have been very full, this one being no exception, with a long, long walk that leaves you satisfied and comfortably weary in your legs, then some hours by the pool, swimming a bit, and then resting in the sun in complete relaxation. Not like the bone deep exhaustion after a long work day.

This week really will be just what I desired, before I left. A week to unwind and relax, let some of my more rigid routines go. Write, eat, sleep, see some new things and enjoy the sun.

I do not regret coming here, despite the small conflicts that have popped up, as they are wont to do when you travel with family.


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